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Us 29, Barbara Mikulski 26, America 22, Barbara 20, Maryland 14, Mikulski 13, Washington 11, United States 7, D.c. 5, Wyoming 5, Rhode Island 5, United States Senate 4, Nevada 4, Baltimore 4, Merkley 4, U.s. 4, Mr. Mcconnell 4, Bennet 4, Obama Administration 3, Alzheimer 's 3,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    March 22, 2012
    9:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

literally stopped the committee hearing to remind the attorney general that, in fact, this was not a partisan issue, that this was an issue where we all should be concerned, that if -- if there is no justice within the department of justice, what -- what does that mean for us as a nation? and she is never hesitant to speak up and stand up and make very, very clear. when these issues are important to the nation, it should know no bounds by party. and -- and barbara mikulski has held true to that. i think in many, many different ways that make this milestone that we are recognizing today even more important, because i think there is -- there is a
kind of a piling-on of events that can happen here in the halls of congress. where the weight of what we do on a daily basis just gets to be a load. to a certain extent, you can get tired. you can get worn. but barbara has not let the weight of the responsibility bring her down. i was joking with her just a little bit ago when all of the accolades were coming her way, i said barbara, with all these kind words that are being said about you, by the time the tributes are done, you're going to be seven feet tall. and that woman is seven feet tall in the minds of so many of us. she is a giant for the people of maryland. she has proven herself to be a giant in so many ways as she works to -- to do good for so many.
i'm proud to stand with so many of my colleagues today in recognizing her tenure, recognizing this historic place that she has carved for herself within congress and to call her my friend. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: thank you. the senator from new jersey is recognized. mr. menendez: madam president, i rise today to honor the service of one of our most distinguished, long-serving colleagues, the tireless, sometimes relentless and often spirited senior senator from maryland, senator barbara mikulski. to say that she is a trailblazer for women in politics is an understatement as we've heard. she has blazed a bold trail not just for women in politics but for all women in every endeavor. she's a fighter, an advocate, someone who you hopefully are on the same side on, and -- of an
issue because she is a formidable opponent when you're on the opposite side. and she's a role model for leadership in getting things done. her impressive list of accomplishments is far too long to recite in a few minutes or even a few hours, and it would not adequately do justice to her incredible service to the state of maryland and the people of this nation. senator mikulski has dedicated her career to serving marylanders and dedicated her life to public service. she began that as a social worker in the neighborhoods of baltimore, working every day on the street helping at-risk children find their way and giving seniors the help they needed. she was not and is not a bleeding heart, but there is no one who has a fuller heart, a more open heart to the deepest needs of the least powerful among us than senator mikulski. she's someone you want on your side, someone everyone wants on
their side, and she came to public service with what i like to call the long view. she can see beyond herself to the needs of society as a whole, and she has fought for those needs and won on far more occasions than she's lost. when she first ran for public office in 1971, i know she had in her heart the deep and abiding memories of those kids and seniors she met in baltimore when she began in her career. and i know she carries those memories with her to this day. to this day, she has never forgotten the people of maryland who need her the most and have had the wisdom to elect her time and time again. her political career has taken her from the baltimore city council to u.s. house of representatives and this chamber where she has honorably served for the past 26 years. for the seven years that i've had the opportunity to work with her in this chamber, there has been no stronger, more knowledgeable, more committed
colleague on this side of the aisle. she's an example for all of her colleagues determined to work across the aisle when possible, and ready to fight for her beliefs when necessary. she was the first woman elected to statewide office in maryland, the first democratic woman elected to the senate in her own right, the first woman to serve in both houses of congress, the longest serving female member of the senate, and as we all know, this past saturday senator mikulski became the longest serving woman in the history of the united states congress, serving more than 35 years in the house of representatives and the senate. and it's only fitting that she achieved this milestone during women's history month, because she has not only paved the way for women in politics but for women everywhere. i had the opportunity to work with senator mikulski during the long and difficult debate and negotiations on health care reform. and her work was instrumental ensuring that women have access
to the comprehensive health care they are now guaranteed under the law. and during that debate, no one's voice was clearer, no one's voice was stronger, no one was more convincing than her in the fight for a woman's right to comprehensive health care coverage. she fought for mandatory insurance coverage of essential sftionz like mammograms and maternity care, services many insurance companies refused to cover. she fought to end gender discrimination by insurance companies. and as a result of the affordable care act and in large measure because of senator mikulski's tireless efforts on behalf of women, being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition as insurance companies used to say that can be discriminated against. those insurance companies who routinely denied coverage of basic women's health services, essential services, are now riverside to cover those services under the comprehensive
provisions of the law. whenever there is a need in chamber for a strong voice for women, whenever there is a need for an advocate to stand up for the powerless against the powerful, whenever there is a child who needs a friend, a senior citizen who needs a hand, barbara mikulski is there. i believe there are many times she comes to this floor remembering as she said, her days back in baltimore, and she's right there. an advocate's advocate, fighting for children and senior citizens she has met long the way. the best of us are better off because she comes with a full heart, ready to do what's right, not simply what's politically expedient. her bill, the lilly ledbetter act was signed by president obama days after his inauguration and i was proud to work with senator mikulski with that and so many other efforts as well that make a difference in the lives of average americans.
finally, senator mikulski has been a tireless advocate for something that is near and dear to my own heart. she's been an advocate for those who suffer from alzheimer's and their families. as the son of a mother who battled alzheimer's for 18 years, and who lost her life to it, i understand firsthand the unique challenges of providing long-term care for a loved one. and senator mikulski has come to this floor on countless occasions advocating for increased research, education, and programs for individuals with alzheimer's. and has found the support from her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. it's estimated that 5.4 million americans are currently living with alzheimer's, and millions more have been touched in some way by this debilitating disease. i want to thank the senator from the bottom of my heart for her passion for helping those who suffer from this disease. and i look forward to continuing
to work with her on this issue until we find a cure for alzheimer's. the bottom line, senator mikulski is a deeply committed public servant. the state of maryland has rightly recognized her invaluable service for many years. because of her efforts, those families know their interests are protected and their voices are heard. it's been an honor to serve with her. all of us in this chamber can hope to serve our states with the same conviction, selflessness and pride that senator mikulski has had throughout her 35 years of service to the state of maryland. i'm reminded of what mother teresa said when she got the congressional gold medal. she said it's not all the awards and roiftions that one receives -- recognitions in life that one receives that matters, it is how one has lived their life that matters. in that respect, senator mikulski has lived an extraordinary life, and we thank her for what she has done, not just for the people
of maryland but for all the people of the united states of america. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: thank you. the senator from new hampshire is recognized. mrs. shaheen: madam president, i'm proud to be able to join my colleagues on the floor this afternoon in honoring senator barbara mikulski for her service to maryland and for the endless contribution she has made to the people of this country. it's really hard to adequately describe a political icon as barbara mikulski is, and for all of us women in politics, she is a model of what we can aspire to, what we would hope to aspire to. and i just want to tell a simple story about barb that i think reflects her ability to get along with people, her zest for
life, as so many of my colleagues have described, and the connection that she makes that makes a difference for people. she and i were on a flight with four other senators to the security forum in halifax, nova scotia a couple of years ago and the weather was bad so our flight was diverted to bangor, maine. it was winter in new england and of course when there's bad weather in new england in the winter, it sticks around for awhile. so we were trapped overnight in banger. -- in bangor. now, most of us just sat there waiting to figure out what was going to be done while we waited for a flight the next day, but not barbara. because she doesn't sit still. she's never afraid to pick up the phone and to take action, and that's exactly what she did. she dialed up her old friend and
colleague, all of our colleague, senator collins, susan collins, and said, guess where i am? and that's how those of us who were on that flight, the six senators, the secretary of homeland security wound up joining senator collins and the legendary troupe greeters of bangor, maine, to welcome troops at the airport as they returned home from overseas. so what seemed like was going to be an inconvenience turned into a real fabulous opportunity to thank our brave men and women in uniform and to have a good time while we were doing it. and you find those kinds of things happening if you spend time with barbara mikulski. it's a byproduct of her relentless energy, her drive to better her community and our nation as a whole, her deep commitment to fighting for women's health, and her unfailing grace and gumption as
a legislator, a colleague, and a friend. and as has been said, she got her start as a social worker trying to make the live of men and women in her native baltimore a little easier to bear. she was working in the service of values that were taught to her by her family, who owned the neighborhood grocery store. and as so many have commented, she tells the story of her father opening the store early so that steelworkers coming in for the early morning shift would have time to buy their lunch. barb has carried that spirit, those values that she learned from her family in that grocery store here to the senate and often it is sorely needed here, those values. but as dean of the women's caucus, she has built a sense of community within the women's caucus. her bipartisan women's dinners are legendary.
and, of course, what happens at those dinners stays at those dinners. those are mikulski's rules. but we really don't need to look any further than that windy night in maine to know how effective she's been in making things happen for people. i look forward to more of her dinners, to more conversations with the senator, to more chances to work with her as she fights on behalf of women and seniors and veterans and all those who don't have a voice in government. and at the table. i thank the senator for her friendship, for her leadership, and for her many years of service. thank you. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia is recognized. mr. manchin: thank you so much. madam president, i, too, am honored to be able to rise today and speak of our dear friend, barbara mikulski. so many good things have been said, so many accolades have been shared of what barbara has
done and what she means to all of us. committee only tell you there's not a better ally, a mentor, a neighbor, most importantly a friend that i have in the senate than barbara mikulski. we do share a border, maryland and west virginia have had a long and illustrious relationship. as governor, i'd always known of barbara and met her a few times when i served the great state of west virginia. but as senator, i've had the privilege of being here colleague and working with her and becoming friends. listen to her and watching her, how she works with her constituents, how she considers the issue, how she fights for the issue. and i don't think anyone's ever had to guess where barbara stands on an issue because we've all known. in the 15 months that we have worked together, i can say that it's extremely rewarding to serve alongside of her. and whether it's her wisdom she shares on the train as we ride over to our sessions here or whether we talk about basically
both being raised in a grocery store. my grandfather had a little grocery store. as you know, barbara was raised with her father in a grocery store. and i think that basically if you've got retail in your blood, you understand the people of america. her sense of humor is something to behold and every day that i have the privilege to serve with her is a good day in this senate. i know that the colleagues have all shared their stories with her. they've had more experience with her in the senate. i'm, as a freshman being here a little over a year and a half, has not had that many personal experiences except that i can tell you this. if there's a fight that breaks out, if there's something going wrong, you want barbara on your side. she's the person that you want in that foxhole when the shooting starts. and i've been so appreciative to have her as my friend and always counting on her. she has been, as you heard, an advocate for women's health. the space program, her most
beloved state of maryland she fights for every day. last year she became the first woman to reach the milestone of serving a quarter of a century in the senate. i have staffers who are younger than her service. but also i have young staffers, especially my female staffers, who said they see a world of possibility because of the trail that senator barbara mikulski has left for them. so with all of that, she's made the trail for all of us. as barbara mikulski is a person that no one's going to be able to fill her shoes. we will all be lucky enough if we can just follow in her footsteps. when she began serving on the hill in 1977, there were 20 other women in all of congress. she and 17 others served in the house while there were three in the senate. today, 35 years later, there are 17 women serving in the senate. if there is anything that we can
learn from senator barbara mikulski, it's that 17 women is far too few. we need more women like you, barbara, and just as importantly, we need more senators like you. i can honestly say that i know the state of maryland is much better off because of barbara mikulski. but i can tell you that the united states of america is a better country because of barbara mikulski. so, thank you, to my dear friend, barbara, for her service to this great country and to all the constituents of maryland, who must be extremely proud of her and have a right to be so. but i'm so proud to call her my friend and my neighbor. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: thank you. mr. lautenberg: madam president? the presiding officer: yes. the senator from new jersey is recognized.
mr. lautenberg lautenberg: than, madam president. we've listened with interest and total accord as the life in the senate has been reviewed by so many people of friendship and goodwill about barbara mikulski. her record is quite well-known. she's determined to get things done. she never let's minutia stand in the way or block an accomplishment. when -- i noticed one thing, when barbara mikulski starts to talk in a debate that the noise around -- the crowd around the room quiets down. and if you don't, beware.
barbara will call your attention to it and say it in a way that demands attention. barbara and i arrived in the senate at fairly close proximity. i came here in 1983 and barbara arrived in 1986, as i recall. and we were both on the appropriations committee. i had some slight seniority ahead of her. and one of the things that was being dealt with was seniority. and barbara asked my help in the
choice of subcommittee, and i tried to step out of the way and help barbara obtain the chairmanship of a subcommittee on appropriations, which she managed so well, so effectively. she once called me her gallahad, and i was proud of the moniker because it was intended to be a compliment and a sign of friendship. strikingly, barbara mikulski and i had backgrounds that were
not -- that were not dissimilar. i came from polish heritage. my father, my grandparents on my paternal side were born in poland, as barbara's family did. and they were immigrants that -- my parents were brought as children from europe and went through the traditional immigrant absorption. my folks found it very hard to make a living as they grew up here, grew up in america. my grandparents were essentially poor people with a kind of blue-collar background and had to resort to storekeeping to keep food on the table, a roof
overhead, clothes on their back. and the one thing that threaded through those years for me -- and i heard it coming from barbara mikulski so many times when she spoke, and that was there was always dignity in the house, that there was always a positive outlook. and as i heard it, her parents, like -- or my parents, like hers, were not able to do much with presents and valuables but they did something else, and you see it so fundamentally clear in barbara mikulski's demeanor and her behavior. that what she learned at home, the same thing i learned at home, and that was the meaning
of values. not valuables, values. and values included a character obligation for hard work and honesty and decency. there -- they were the yardsticks by which our -- we were measured as children and as adults. and so we -- i worked very closely with barbara. i left the senate, as is known, for two years and my seniority slipped as a consequence. barbara's seniority continued to grow and she is chairman of th the -- of the appropriations subcommittee. and -- but barbara always brought a degree of strength and
energy to the things that she said, to the things that she did. though barbara, during a presentation, wanted to make sure that she was heard and heard correctly, she would also pop up with humor. she had a facility with words, had a facility with expression that would have you engrossed in what she was saying and caught offguard when a joke would -- or a humorous statement would pop up. so when we note that barbara mikulski from this modest background was always on the side of working people and it
was never just a mask; it was the truth; it was where she wanted to be. and i must say that she, for me, was always a steadfast beacon that would remiensdz remind us,t carried away with your importance. get carried away with your responsibility as a senator. when barbara mikulski, who came these years ago -- it was noted that she was the first among the women to come to the senate and ultimately, as we now know, became the longest-serving and
carried herself through all of the difficulties that we've had, but always, always you could depend on barbara mikulski. when barbara stood up, people stopped talking about things that were extraneous and they would listen carefully because barbara mikulski always made so much sense, and she didn't let you get by without a challenge, if she believed that you were wrong. and so we've heard about her record, we've heard about her accomplishments, and everybody had wo wonderful things to say about her. i listened carefully to statements that were being made and thought about our days together and how wonderful it
was to be able to hear barbara mikulski make sense out of what often escaped challenge. and she would offer the challenge, and she would offer solutions. so i, like our other colleagues, stand here in awe and respect and note that barbara mikulski, the storekeeper's daughter, is so much like that which i saw in my own life and we've seen in america in the past century. and barbara mikulski, who in all due modesty, without any impression of a smug satisfaction, always ready to take up the battle for the people whom she served, not only
in the state of maryland but across the country. she was an inspiration for women coming to government. and she served so well as a demonstration of what could be. and so, madam president, i'm delighted to be here, to stand here as a friend and an admirer of barbara mikulski and wish her many more years of service and know that barbara is here -- b f know that barbara is here -- b f >> the senate plans to finish work today on the small business capital bill to ease his regular on raising funds and taking a small business public.
they will vote on two amendments at about 12:30 p.m. today, raising funds online and requiring additional disclosure by small business and a initial public offerings, ipos. it either a minute passes the bill will go back to the house. if both a mammoth are defeated, the bill goes to president obama. centers will vote on a number of judicial nominations. and now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the captain of our souls, you know every temptation and trial we face. give our lawmakers today the
wisdom to be good stewards of the bounties you have given our -- given and to trust you to deliver them from evil. make them pure enough to use wisely the wealth we call ours, as they remember that to whom much is given much will be required. allow no hunger for attainment, or thirst of ambition to drive them to align themselves with wrong. lord, strengthen them to serve you this day with right choices and unswerving loyalty.
we pray in your merciful name amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., march 22, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom udall, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: following leader remarks the senate will be in a period of morning business for an hour. the majority will control the first half.
the republicans the final half. following morning business the senate will resume consideration of the capital formation bill. filing deadline for second-degree amendments on the motion to concur with respect to the stock act is 10:30 a.m. at 12:30 there will be up to seven roll call votes including completion of the i.p.o. bill, the stock act and confirmation of three judicial tpholgss. mr. president -- threing -- three judicial nominations. mr. president, i was disappointed to hear in the news that the republicans decided to not do the highway bill, a bill we worked three weeks on here, a piece of bipartisan legislation that will save 2.3 million jobs. they are so disorganized, such a state of disrepair, the house of representatives, that they can't even extend the highway bill.
i don't know what's in their mind, mr. president. this program was started by that radical liberal dwight eisenhower who decided after having tried as a major under orders from his commander to bring a kara van of military -- a caravan of military vehicles across the floor -- i'm sorry -- across the country, that the roads were awful. he remembered that all during his military service. when he became president of the united states, he said something needs to be done about that. thent -- the interstate highway system was the brainchild of dwight eisenhower, and now the republicans in the house are talking as if it is some socialistic program that was developed at harvard or some other radically liberal place. i can't imagine what their mind-set is. barbara boxer and jim inhofe
came together on a bill we passed on a bipartisan basis here. the vast majority of democrats voted for it. the vast majority of republicans voted for it. it's a good bill to save 2.8 million jobs. but over in a big, dark hole we now refer to as the tea tea-pary dominated house of representatives, they couldn't agree on it. they couldn't even agree to their own bill. they destroyed their own bill, and now they won't agree to take up our bill. the funding for our highway system terminates at the end of this month. i am not inclined to go for this short-term extension they're going to send to us, mr. president. they're going to have to feel the heat of the american people, they being the tea party-driven
house of representatives. mr. president, the initial public offering legislation will be here on the tphraob -- floor and debated for the last time in just a short time. it will pass. the bill is far from perfect but it is a good bill. it will help capital formation, and i'm glad we're able to pass it on to the house. i'm hopeful that the good work done by senators merkley, warner, bennet and others will -- i hope the minority will wrap their arms around this and pass it. i hope that they will agree to pass the reid amendment. we'll soon know about that. but the bill's going to be gone, sent to the president real soon if the house agrees to help us with the legislation. mr. president, two years ago tomorrow president obama signed a patient protection and affordable care act into law. it was the greatest single step
in generations toward insuring access toward affordable quality health care for every american regardless of where they lived or how much money they make. millions and millions of americans have already felt the benefit of this law. seniors are saving money, millions and millions of dollars, on their prescriptions and their free checkups. the doughnut hole is rapidly disappearing because of this bill. this law, i should say. insurance companies can no longer set arbitrary lifetime caps on benefits. mr. president, what they would do is you thought you were in good shape. you had an insurance policy, a health insurance policy, and you get in a car accident or you get cancer or some other dread disease, and you're in the process of being taken care of, and you're told your bill is not
being paid anymore. your limit was $10,000 or $50,000, and they stopped paying benefits. under this legislation that can no longer be done. that's why the president signed the bill. under this legislation that is now law, children can no longer be denied insurance because they have preexisting conditions, a protection that will soon extend to all americans. and in two short years, in fact, less time than that, every man, woman khaoeupbld in america will -- child in america will have access to the health care insurance they can afford. mr. president, they will have the same kind of insurance you and i have. basically the same insurance. and for people to rail against this plan of president obama's they call it, i haven't seen a single one of the republicans rail against this law, saying we don't want our insurance because it's government insurance.
every member of the united states senate has the same insurance that we by law are giving to everyone in america. my republican colleagues who berate this bill, let them drop their government insurance. they hate this so much that we're trying to give the american people, have them drop what they have because it's the same thing basically. no longer will hundreds of millions of americans live in fear of losing their insurance because they lose their job. and no longer will tens of millions rely on the only care they know exists: an emergency room. the most expensive care in america is an emergency room. some people go without care because they have no insurance at all. mr. president, this is not just a story i've heard from other
people. there are people who today have no insurance just like my family had no insurance when i was growing up. mr. president, we didn't go to the doctor. we didn't go to the doctor. no insurance. the only time that i can remember going to the doctor was when i was deathly ill. literally deathly ill. we had no -- my parents had no car, and i had something wrong. i had been sick for a long time. and my brother had somebody visit him. my mother asked if they would be good enough to take us over to the hospital, which was 50 miles away. they did, and i had a growth on one of my intestines or something. i was very, very sick. mr. president, there are many people today just like i was as a little boy. they have no insurance. and they may be looking the same
as me, with no transportation, to have a visitor take them to the nearest emergency room. what happened to me. the problem was our emergency room was 50 miles away. unfortunately, republicans continue to stop rights under that law. if republicans have their way, insurance companies would once again be allowed to deny care to sick children because that child has asthma or diabetes or some of the other situations that young people get. in nevada, thousands of children with preexisting conditions would once again be at the whim of insurance companies who care more about making money than about making people better. if republicans have their way, young adults just out of college would be kicked off their parents' insurance plans. mr. president, also that's something that i know exists today.
in the little town of searchlight, where i have my home, a young man named jeff wanted to go to school. he started community college, doing pretty well. and he got pain in his groin. first it started out as a little ache and then it got to where he couldn't take it anymore. but because he was at an age where he was no longer able to stay in his parents insurance policy, he didn't know where to go. so he went to the so-called county hospital, indigent hospital. he was diagnosed as having testicular cancer. he had been on his dad's insurance policy, but he arrived at an age where tpho*efs longer eligible -- where he was no longer eligible. his parents had certainly not much. his mother worked part time at a post office.
his dad worked at a steam generating plant 50 miles away from searchlight. so they begged -- that's stretching a little bit. but they borrowed and borrowed and borrowed to take care of his two surgeries, a number of hospital visitations, chemotherapy. they paid for that. thousands and thousands of dollars that they had to find a way to pay for their boy. under the law that's now in existence, they can stay on their parents' insurance policy for three or four years more, allowing many young boys and girls to go to college, go find a job. they can stay on their parents' insurance policy. in nevada, thousands of children with preexisting conditions would once again, as i indicated would be without the ability to be taken care of when they're
sick. almost 23,000 young adults in nevada would once again have to defer their dreams to take a job, or as i just indicated, go to college. or risk going without any care. if republicans have their way, seniors will pay more for prescriptions and checkups. we've had about a quarter of a million nevada seniors who now get wellness visits, cancer screenings and other preventive services. this bill goes away, it won't happen anymore. tens of thousands of seniors will save millions and millions of dollars in nevada alone on prescription drugs last year, once again will be forced to choose between buying food and buying medicine. if republicans have their way, taxes will increase for small businesses, and so will the deficit. repealing health care reform would add almost $1.5 trillion to the federal debt. not billion.
trillion. when democrats undertook health care reform, it wasn't just about saving money. it was about saving lives. and we did that. while the numbers i just discussed are very important, there is one number that matters more than all the others. 45,000. mr. president, in the year 2011, 45,000 americans died because they lacked health insurance. that's almost a thousand a week. that doesn't include the tens of thousands more who are sick or dying because they have health insurance but still can't afford the care they need. after the rest of the affordable care act has taken effect over the next year and a half or two years, no american will have to bear what president lyndon johnson called, and i quote -- "the unjustice which denies the miracle of healing to the old and the poor." end of quote.
president johnson living in a country with the best medical care in the world doesn't matter if you can't access that care. that's why almost 47 years ago he signed medicare into law. on that day in july, president johnson celebrated an american tradition that -- quote -- "calls upon us never to be indifferent to our despair. it commands us never to turn away from helplessness. directs us never to ignore those and spurn those that suffer in a land that is burning with abundance." close quote. so, mr. president, we save $500 billion in wasteful programs and other things. in medicare, we extended the life of it for a dozen years and gave seniors the things that i have talked about today. filling the doughnut hole, prescription drugs, wellness checks and all the other things that are so important to them. the affordable care act continues the tradition that president johnson celebrated because it calls upon us never
to be indifferent to our despair, commands us to never turn away from helplessness and directs us to never ignore or spurn those who suffer unintended in a land -- unattended in a land that's bursting with abundance. the law mix certain that the richest in the nation, this great world of ours, never again turns its back on spare helplessness and many times hopelessness and suffering of the least among us. it guarantees that no insurance company will ever again be putting a price tag on human life. mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: i suggest that the quorum be dismissed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that senator grassley be allocated 45 minutes of the republican time during the debate on h.r. 3606. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, later today the senate will take up an attempt to pass the jobs act, and so we find ourselves once again on the cusp of passing a bipartisan jobs package that will make it easier for entrepreneurs and for innovators to get the capital
they need to build businesses and create jobs. as i said yesterday, this bill had overwhelming bipartisan support over in the house. nearly 400 members voted for it, and the president himself says that it will create jobs. he supports it and he would sign it when we get it to him. yet, for some reason, some in the democratic-controlled senate seem intent on slowing it down and others want to essentially take a step actually backward and undermine a critical provision sponsored by senators toomey, carper and hutchison, included in the house bill and that was just this weaken doctored by the s.e.c.'s forum on small business capital formation. the reed amendment, rhode island, could subject thousands of businesses could s.e.c. regulation unnecessarily, and the senate should reject it.
so once again, i ask them to reconsider. let's put politics aside and pocket this important bipartisan jobs bill. the jobs act is a great example of the type of legislation we should all be able to agree on, and there is simply no good reason for delay. let's get this done. let's get it to the president's desk and have him sign it into law. now, on another matter, mr. president, yesterday i outlined a number of the broken promises we have seen in connection with the new obamacare law. from the promise of being able to keep the plan you have and like to the promise of protecting medicare to the promise of lowering premiums to the promise of lowering health care costs. democrats also said that taxes wouldn't go up and existing conscience protections would be respected. looking back, it seems like there wasn't anything our
democratic friends, including the president, weren't willing to promise in order to get the bill across the finish line. but there is another category of disappointments, too, and that's all the aspects of this bill democrats didn't even talk about before it passed. we all remember when speaker pelosi famously said we have to pass this bill so we can find out what's in it, and one of the things americans found out about was something called ipab, the independent payment advisory board. this is an unelected, unaccountable board of bureaucrats empowered by this law to make additional cuts to medicare based on arbitrary cost control targets. as a result of this new board, 15 bureaucrats would now have the power without any accountability whatsoever to make changes to medicare. what's more, there is no judicial or administrative review of ipab personnel or
recommendations. in other words, they are accountable to no one. ipab isn't answerable to voters, and it can't be challenged in the courts. its main role, as "the wall street journal" editorial board put it, will be the inevitable dirty work of denying care. the inevitable dirty work of denying care. in an effort to control spending, ipab will limit patient access to medical care. it's that simple, and frankly it's totally unacceptable. republicans recognize the problem of medicare spending and the need for reform. we also recognize that ipab isn't the answer. this is just one more reason obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced. that's why even democrats are cosponsoring a bill to repeal it over in the house, calling it a flawed policy that will risk beneficiary access to care.
so this isn't just a republican issue. there is strong bipartisan opposition to this new law. look, if the president himself doesn't even want to talk about this law anymore and even democrats are sponsoring repeal of parts of their own law in the house, it should be pretty obvious there is a fundamental problem here. we need to reform health care, but this reform made things worse. the evidence and broken promises are all around us. it's time the president acknowledged it, and it's time the two parties came together and did something about it. it's time to repeal obamacare and replace it with the kind of commonsense reforms americans really want, reforms that actually lower costs and which put health care back in the hands of individuals and their doctors rather than bureaucrats here in washington. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership
time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business for one hour, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first half and the republicans controlling the final half. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. harkin: first i ask unanimous consent that tyler bishov and nicole burta be granted floor privileges for the duration of today's proceedings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: again, tomorrow, we celebrate the second anniversary of the signing of the affordable care act into law. our democratic leader, senator reid, in his opening remarks today i think outlined the tremendous progress that we have made in this bill. listened to the comments made by our distinguished republican leader, and all i heard was
repeal obamacare, repeal obamacare, but i never heard what they want to replace it with. they just want to go back to the old system where the insurance companies ran everything before, where people were thrown off their policies because they had an illness, where because of preexisting conditions you couldn't get health care coverage, where we had this big doughnut hole that we're now closing for the elderly, but the one thing i want to focus on this morning in my brief time, mr. president, is to focus on an extraordinary element of the affordable care act that's not being talked about a lot, but which members of my committee that i now am privileged to chair, the health committee, worked so hard to include in the affordable care act. that is the away of provisions that promote wellness, disease prevention and public health. taken together, these provisions have begun to jump-start
america's transformation into a genuine wellness society. they are transforming our current sick care system into a true health care system. i have said this many times. we don't have a health care system in america. we have a sick care system. if you get sick, you get care, one way or the other. but there is very little out there to help you keep healthy and to maintain wellness and to keep you from going to the hospital in the first place. now, that would be a true health care system, and that's what we have begun to establish with the affordable care act. by preventing chronic diseases, enabling people to stay healthy, stay out of the hospital in the first place. right now, the united states spends about 75% of all our health care spending. 75% of the nation's health care spending is spent on chronic diseases. only 4% for prevention.
so during the last year that we have the data for, 2005, the u.s. spent about $2 trillion on health care. of every $1 spent, 75 cents went toward treating patients with chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. only four cents went toward prevention. now, that had to tell you something right there. that's the old system. that's the system that republicans want us to go back to, is this system. spending more and more to treat people after they get sick rather than trying to put something up forward to keep people healthy. well, in the affordable care act, we have tremendous opportunities to again move us to more prevention and wellness. we have made historic new investments in this area of prevention and public health. now, here is one example of that right here. on this chart, before our health
reform bill, our law was passed, just take the issue of colorectal cancer screening, which we know if you get it early and detect it early, your chances of survival are tremendous. if you get it too late, then you're going to be in the hospital and you're going to have cancer and you are probably -- you're not going to live. but we know by getting it early, we can prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths and illness and treatments later on. cholesterol screening. we know if people get good cholesterol screening, they get on a drug or good diet or exercise program, reducing the prevalence of heart disease. and tobacco cessation. do we need to keep repeating around here how much it costs our society from the plague of tobacco use in this country? well, here is where we were before health reform. about 68% covered by colorectal
cancer screening. about 57% were covered by cholesterol screening. and only 4% from tobacco cessation. after health reform, now 100%, 100% coverage for colorectal screening, with no co-pays and deductibles, i might add. 100% coverage for cholesterol screening. 100% coverage for tobacco cessation. that's prevention. that's wellness, keeping people healthy in the first place. what do the republicans want? they want to go back to this. they want to go back to this. we've made too much progress in prevention and wellness to go back to the, back to the old ways of just treating people after they get sick. again, we've been able to promote a lot of activities around the country to promote
health and wellness. for example, in illinois, the state made improvements to its sidewalks and marked crossings to increase student activity levels. you might say well, big deal. well, it is a big deal. because of these improvements, the number of students who are walking to school has doubled. doubled. and it's expected to save the school system about $67,000 a year just on bus costs. kids are healthier. you save money. in alabama, mobile county is using funds from this prevention fund to support tobacco quit lines, to help residents live tobacco-free. again, under the tobacco ses ation program. -- cessation program. officials enacted a comprehensive smoke-free policy expected to protect 13,000 of their residents. this is in mobile county, alabama. from being exposed to secondhand smoke. so, all across america more and more is being invested in
prevention. we know that, for example, a 5% reduction in obesity rate -- just 5% reduction in obesity rate will yield more than $600 billion in savings on health care costs over 20 years. again, in our prevention fund. out there again getting people the necessary supports and information they need to reduce obesity. so the misguided toefrts repeal the -- efforts to repeal the health reform law, again, most americans know what's at stake. they're going to lose a lot of these prevention activities that enable us to take care of our own health care, to make sure we get our colonoscopies on time, our mammogram screenings. every woman over 40 gets a free mammogram screenings, no co-pays, no deductibles. the republicans want to take that away from the women in this country.
colonoscopies without co-pays and deductibles. republicans want to take that away. annual physicals. we know a lot of people didn't get annual physicals because it costs money. now you can get an annual physical free. no co-pays, no deductibles. republicans want to take that away. so, again, i think we have to ask the question every time i hear the republicans talking about doing away with obamacare or the affordable care act, we have to ask are we going to cut short this transformation into a wellness society in preventing diseases, keeping people healthy in the first place? well, i think the answer is clear. americans are not going to allow all of these hard-earned protections and benefits in the affordable care act to be taken away. we're not going to be dragged backward. we're going to continue our march forward to make ourselves more healthy. we're not going to go back to the old system where a little over half of the people in this country got cholesterol
screening. *68% got colorectal cancer screening. we want people tpo get early screening, early support services for preventive care so they stay healthy. not only is it going to help our family budgets, it's going to help our federal budget if we have people healthier and not going to the hospital in the first place. so this is one of the big aspects of the affordable care act that's not talked about a lot, but to me it's one of the most important aspects of moving us, again, to a society where we're not just relying upon people going to the hospital and paying high hospital bills and things like that in the future. so, mr. president, i'm going to yield the floor. i just wanted to make those comments about one aspect of the affordable care act. of course we do know that there's many other things in the affordable care act that people don't want to lose. right now we ban lifetime
limits, helps more than 100 million people. they want to take that away. republicans want to take that away. we cover vital preventive services, which i just went over. young people remaining on their parents' coverage up to age 26. more than 2.5 million helped so far. republicans want to take that away. they want to end all that. well, i don't think the american people want to end it. i think the american people want to move forward with this health care reform bill because we've made too much progress. too much progress in making sure that health insurance is affordable, available. and, you know, i just have one more thing to say if my friend from rhode island would just let me. everyone here in this senate body belongs to the federal employees health benefit program. you know what? we have coverage for preexisting conditions. we have no lifetime bans on our
policies. and yet, that's what we did. remember the debate, twaoeptd say to the american people -- we wanted to say to the american people whatever we have we want you to have too? we put that in the affordable care act. republicans say we're going to take that away from the american people but keep it for ourselves. i don't think so. i don't think the american people want to say, well, you senators and you congressmen, you can keep all that but you can take it away from us. we're not going to do it. we're not going to go backwards. with that, i'm going to yield the floor to my distinguished friend from rhode island who played such a pivotal role in getting the affordable care act through on our committee and has been one of our more eloquent spokes persons on this health care bill in the last couple of years. so i yield the floor to my friend from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: may i ask
unanimous consent to speak for, say, 15 minutes? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. let me first congratulate senator harkin for his remarks today, but more than that the work that has preceded today on the health care bill. he was an ardent advocate for the prevention programs that save lives and money. it was a real pleasure to work with him at that time. today is the second anniversary of the passage of the affordable care act. i want to describe how the law is already making a difference for families in rhode island and across the country. by drastically improving access to higher-quality care, by addressing rising health care costs and by protecting consumers. look at the changes. children with preexisting conditions were denied coverage. no longer. lifetime limits on insurance policies left many american families struggling to pay
medical care bills on their own. no longer. and insurers could cancel coverage for individuals who became sick. no longer. in addition, the law helps kids just out of school who all too often can't get that first job with health insurance. it helps them to stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26. for seniors, prescription drug costs are down, as the medicare doughnut hole begins to close. this is real change, and it hits home in my home state of rhode island. i hear from rhode islanders, and i listen. i heard from greg, a father in providence who told me about his 16-year-old son, will. will spends two hours every day undergoing treatment to keep his
cystic fibrosis in check. in addition to this daily treatment and prescriptions, will sees a specialist four times a year to monitor the disease. greg said that he often thinks about his son will's future and whether his son will be able to maintain health insurance coverage and receive the treatment that he needs. thanks to the affordable care act, will does not have to worry about insurance companies denying him coverage because he has a preexisting condition or fear that he'll have to go without treatment because his medical bills will have pushed him over some ash -- arbitrary lifetime limit. as many as 374,000 rhode islanders including 84,000 children like will can receive the treatment they need free from lifetime limits on coverage. people who want to repeal obamacare should be ready to look greg in the eye and tell
him why they want to take that away from him and his son. olive, a senior from win socket, shared with me that her husband takes several medications to help treat his alzheimer's disease. a three-month supply for two of his medications costs close to $1,000. as olive said, those months go by quickly. last year olive and her husband fell into the prescription drug doughnut hole in july. without the affordable care act, they would have been responsible for paying the full cost of his medications out of pocket. but because of health care reform, olive and her husband received a discount on their prescription drugs and saved $2,400 last year. olive and her husband are two of the over 14,800 rhode islanders who received a 50% discount on
brand name prescription drugs when they hit the doughnut hole. this discount resulted in an average savings of over $550 per person, for a total savings of more than $8.2 million for seniors in rhode island alone. people who want to repeal obamacare should be ready to look olive in the eye and tell her why that $8.2 million should go back into the drug companies' pockets, why she and her husband should have to cough up an extra $2,400 for the drug companies. briane, a 22-year-old graduate of the university of rhode island currently works part time as a physical therapy aide in providence. her job does not offer health insurance. brianne suffers from the senatos
and makes frequent trips to her a letter gist. because of the affordable care act she can stay on her mother's health insurance so she can continue to tkpwept the treatment she needs. -- get the treatment she needs. without this coverage, brianne said she would be hard pressed to get the treatments needed for her allergies. as of june last year brianne was over one of 7,500 adults in rhode island who gained insurance coverage as a result of the reform law. people who want to repeal obamacare need to explain to brianne why she and those other 7,500 rhode island kids should be kicked off their parents' policy. the affordable care act has also brought needed relief to employers who are still the leading source of health coverage in the united states. jeff is a small business owner in providence. he provides health care insurance for his employees because, as he said, it's the
right thing to do. but the rising cost of his employees health insurance has placed increase pressure on his business. jeff's business qualified for the health care law's small business health care tax credit, which covers up to 35% of premiums paid by a small business owner for its employees' coverage. these credits are a lifeline for small businesses that are struggling in today's difficult economy and for the people those small businesses employ. people who want to repeal obamacare need to look jeff in the eye and tell him why they want to take away that tax credit lifeline that helps him provide coverage for his employees. the affordable care act also provided support for community health centers. in rhode island, like elsewhere in the country, community health centers fill a critical gap in our health care system,
delivering comprehensive, preventive and primary care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. dennis roy is the c.e.o. of east bay community action program in rhode island. he tells me that the affordable care act has provided critical support for his community health center's mission. east bay has received $3 million through this law to construct a new community health center in newport which despite its reputation is one of rhode island's poorer cities. the new community health center will triple the available patient care space for needy newport county residents. to date, rhode island community health centers have received $14.8 million to create new health center sites in medically underserved areas. this is important american infrastructure, and we should not tear it down to make a political point or to assuage a political ideology. these stories are just a few of
many that show how the affordable care act is working for rhode island families, seniors and small businesses. and although we've made great progress, the work continues. over the last two years a tremendous effort has been made by the health care industry, by state and local leaders, and by the obama administration to develop a better model of health care delivery. to shift from a system that is disorganized and fragmented to one that is coordinated, is efficient and delivers the high quality care that americans deserve. private health care providers like guizinger, intermountain and the marsh field clinic are already focusing on quality rather than quantity, efficiency rather than volume, to better serve their patients and their bottom line. because of the affordable care act, the federal government now has the opportunity to support and encourage their focus and to deliver much-needed savings in
the most patient-centered way -- by improving the quality of care and health outcomes. there is tremendous potential for improved care and cost savings in five key areas -- payment reform, primary and preventative care, measuring and reporting quality, administrative simplification and health information technology. savings from a range of responsibility viewpoints run from $700 billion to a trillion dollars a year, all without compromising the quality of care americans have come to expect, indeed likely improving the quality of care. i will shortly release a report to chairman harkin and the "help" committee on the obama administration's implementation
of the delivery system reform provisions of the affordable care act, and when i say delivery system reform, i'm meaning those provisions that improve the quality of care, that avoid medical errors, that coordinate care better, that reward prevention and primary care, that reduce administrative overhead, that reward who gets the best health outcomes, not who orders the most treatment procedures. i worked with senator mikulski on this project. she authored the key delivery provisions of the law and has great expertise in this area. these changes will make a real difference for millions of americans, and i look forward to sharing the report and its findings with my colleagues next week. before i close, i want to acknowledge rhode island's work on a state health insurance exchange provided for by the affordable care act. rhode island is leading the way
as the first state to receive a level two grant funding to set up the exchange. the exchanges are commonsense local competitive marketplaces where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance with the prices and benefits out there on display. when insurance companies compete for your business on a transparent level playing field, it will drive down costs. exchanges will let individuals and small businesses use their purchasing power to drive down costs, much like big businesses are able to do. the progress made by state leaders like our lieutenant governor elizabeth roberts who is leading this effort to get to this point, they are remarkable, and i urge them to keep up the good work.
so whether it's changing the lives of greg and will or olive or brianne or jeff and his employees, whether it's building out our community health center infrastructure, whether it's supporting the private sector leaders who are pivoting to a new and better and more efficient delivery system or whether it's something as simple as a marketplace or health insurance that's open, fair and on the level, the affordable care act has made a real difference for hard-working families in rhode island. i will continue to work hard alongside these leading health care providers, alongside the obama administration and alongside my colleagues here in congress to see the full promise of the affordable care act realized for this great nation's advantage. i thank the presiding officer. i yield the floor.
i see ranking member enzi coming out. shall i yield the floor to the senator? i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. enzi: i would ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: it's my understanding that the other side is not going to have their speaker use the last of the minutes, so we'll go ahead and start on our 30 minutes. i would also ask unanimous consent that we be allowed to do a colloquy and have several senators join in. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you. we're actually going to be talking about medicare today and the way that the patient
protection and affordable care act cuts into medicare, destroys medicare. two years ago, the president wanted a health care bill in the worst way, and that's exactly what he got. that's exactly what america got. anybody that's out there that's on medicare or about to be on medicare or young enough that someday you will be on medicare should be really concerned about what's happened under this act. all of you, i'm sure, are aware of somebody that is on medicare that's already been denied a doctor, denied a doctor because they are not being paid what they ought to be paid. to call it the patient protection and affordable care act is a major, major mistake. it neither protects medicare patients nor makes it more affordable. in fact, one of the things we'll bring out today is that there has been a theft of $500 billion from medicare to fund other parts of the program. there is some fraud in it because it was spent but it
still shows up in the account. that's how they showed that this really doesn't add to the debt. and to solve the whole thing, they have got a whole new board of unelected bureaucrats to make additional cuts to medicare to make it look like it's okay. and then there is the accounting sleight of hand. i'm one of the two accountants in the united states senate now, and you've got to pay attention to see it, but it goes back to the -- the fraud because if this same sort of thing were being done in the private sector, people would go to jail. there are a number of ways that we will bring out how that is not just budget gimmicks and not just sleight of hand but actually taking advantage of seniors. the chief medicare actuary said that medicare will go broke in 2024. that's five years earlier than last year's report by the chief
medicare actuary. that's the guy that works for medicare. he doesn't work for us. and he has to figure out each year how much in the hole it is and what needs to be done to fix it, and my contention, of course, is that you can't steal $500 billion out of a program that's already going broke and expect it to be fine. and we warned about that as we were going through the passage of this patient protection and affordable care act, which everybody has mentioned was passed two years ago tomorrow. it could have been fixed. there were three plans on the republican side that would have done what is claimed to be done by this act. those ideas were largely rejected. there were few places that they fit in the same as what was placed there, but they were largely regeneral debated. today we'll talk about some thefts, some frauds, some
unelected bureaucrats and some sleight of hands. i have some people that want to respond to some of the things said. i think senator coburn listened to some of the previous comments made on the other side celebrating this great day. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask that we have unanimous consent to have a colloquy among us. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: i listened very intently to the first two speakers this morning, and i have -- as somebody who has now been a physician for almost 30 years, practiced full time for over 25 years, i heard the senator from iowa in what his desire would be in the chart that he showed. he showed 100% screening occurring now in three areas. i want to tell you, that isn't true. we're not screening. we hope to screen and we hope to screen 100%, but the facts are on screening that was available is only used 5% by medicare patients on the screening that was already available with no
cost to medicare patients. so we have to distinguish between what we desire and what's actually going to happen. but let's just take the example of colon screening. i'm a colon cancer survivor. i was diagnosed through colonoscopy with colon cancer. but let's take that example and then let's take the example of the other aspect of the affordable care act which is called the independent payment advisory board. now, what's the purpose of the independent payment advisory board? it is to cut the costs of medicare through decreasing of reimbursements, first for the first eight years physicians and outside providers, and then starting in 2019, hospitals. well, what do you think is the first thing that's going to get cut? the first thing that is going to get cut is the reimbursement rate for a colonoscopy.
so when the reimbursement rate for a colonoscopy goes bow the costs -- and it's very close right now, by the way. the cost to actually perform a colonoscopy versus what medicare reimburses -- when that is cut, what do you think is going to happen on screening? the goal of changing health care is an admirable goal. we know that one in three dollars doesn't help anybody get well and doesn't prevent them from getting sick today, but what the american people need to understand is what is coming about is a group of 15 unelected bureaucrats who cannot be challenged in court, who cannot be challenged on the floor of the senate or house, mandating price reductions to control the cost of medicare. what does that ultimately mean? they will do their job. we won't be able to do anything
about it, but what it means is they will reimburse at levels less than is the cost to do services, and so consequently what will happen is the service won't be there. they also are going to do what is called comparative effectiveness research. we know about comparative effectiveness research. if you're a practicing physician today you have to do continuing medical education. part of that medical education is knowing the latest comparative effectiveness research. it's like they're reinventing something that already exists. the point is they're going to use that to deny or change payments for procedures that patients need. what's wrong with all this? what's wrong with all this is we are inserting a government board and government bureaucrat between the patient and the doctor. think about that for a minute.
when i go to my doctor, i don't want him concentrating about anything except me. and if he's looking over his shoulder about whether or not he met the ipab's comparative effectiveness study on what he's doing for me when in fact the art of medicine as well as the science may say they're wrong, and he's going to do what the government says rather than what he thinks is best for me, what am i getting for that? i'll be on medicare next year. much to my regret, because my choices will now be limited in terms of of who i can see. the greatest threat to the quality of care -- it wasn't intended to be that way. it was intended to be helpful. i don't doubt the motives of anybody that set this board up. the greatest threat to the quality of care for seniors in this country is the independent payment advisory board and their
noncaring position, because they're going to be looking at numbers and words, and they're never going to lay their hand on a patient. they're never going to impact a patient directly. they're never going to listen to a patient. but they're going to make the ultimate decisions based on what that patient's going to get. with that, i yield back to my colleague. mr. enzi: decisions that were made in the health care bill, in the health care bill we took $500 billion, half a trillion dollars, that should have stayed with medicare to solve medicare problems. the doc fix is one of the big problems we need to solve. it's up to about, i think, $230 billion we need to do that. that would be a pretty big chunk out of this. unless that's done, people won't be able to see a doctor. i keep saying if you can't see a doctor you really don't have health insurance. that's what we're going to be doing to our seniors. we cut $135 billion from hospitals. we cut $120 billion from the 11
million seniors that are on medicare advantage. we took $15 billion from nursing homes and took $7 billion from hospices. and we spent it on programs that have nothing to do with medicare or those things. that's fraud. and it shouldn't have happened. the c.b.o. actuary and the chief medicare actuary have acknowledged this reality. incidentally, the chief medicare actuary says the program is going to go broke in 2024. the c.b.o. says it's going to happen in 2016. 2016 is pretty short term. pretty short term to be fixed. i think that 2024 is short term. whichever estimate you want to take, medicare is in trouble. and $500 billion should not have been taken out of it. that $500 billion should have been dedicated to fixing medicare. we still have to fix medicare, and the only solution we've come up with is the one that the
senator from oklahoma, senator coburn, mentioned which is to form this new board with surprising powers that are going to be able to cut some more in medicaid -- medicare, so that it doesn't look like we stole $500 billion from medicare. senator burr is on the committee. he sat through a lot of the hearings and a lot of amendments that were never passed from our side that would have fixed this, and i'm sure he has some comments. mr. burr: i thank the senator from wyoming and my colleague from oklahoma. we have worked on this. we spent tireless hours trying to save not just medicare, but health care as we know it in america today. and i think what you've already understhaod we put -- understood is that we put in place mechanisms and all that will dismantle health care that the american people feel comfortable with, that has served them well and that we agree is way too expensive. but if you just look at the examples that dr. coburn has talked about, ipab, an
independent board that will make coverage decisions and reimbursement decisions, when you cut reimbursement, you're going to chase doctors out of the system. as you cut reimbursements, you're going to defund the hospitals' ability to keep the door open in rural america. but let's look at the things that aren't obvious. what does that effort by ipab do to innovation in health care? what companies are going to go out and put $1 billion on the line for development after new drug or a device given that they don't think they can recover enough through the reimbursement system to could have their research and development, much less the approval process of the products? it would be a vastly different america if in fact all these drugs that are breakthroughs and the devices that are so effective at keeping us living longer are sold in europe and south america and asia, but not in the united states, because
we've now developed a health care system that doesn't allow them the ability to recover that money. match that with the lack of choice. today in this country we have choice. as a matter of fact, as a federal employee, i can pick from probably 30 different health care plans, the same one that every federal employee can choose from. now all of a sudden in a health care bill, we've said to seniors, you know that medicare advantage which allowed you choice, you could choose a provider other than the federal government, we're going to take that away from you. we didn't really take it away. we just said we're not going to reimburse them to the degree that lets them offer the plans. but let's look at what medicare advantage provided for seniors. it provided a wider array of benefits than does traditional medicare. it's good for some. they've chosen it. it won't be good for them in the future if this health care bill is not reversed. because through the actions of ipab and through the explicit
language of the bill, medicare advantage will not be an advantage anymore. and everybody will have to default to the government plan that probably won't be as expansive with preventive care. i know that the senator from wyoming knows in north carolina we sort of lead the country as the model of medical homes. we're on the verge there of trying to put seniors into medical homes. we've already done it with a medicaid population. now, we've saved money. but my state of north carolina this year has a gap of about $500 million in medicaid. the people we're responsible for and the money we've allocated for, even though over the last three years we have saved almost $1 billion by being creative at how we designed our medicaid program. this health care initiative, with no input from any state, will double the population of medicaid beneficiaries in north carolina, and what have we done?
we've shifted the responsibility down to the state at the state taxpayer level. we didn't magically change anything in health care. we're just reallocating where we're collecting the money from. and every state's the same. they underpay for reimbursements under medicaid. doctors limit the number of patients that they see that are medicaid patients. imagine what happens when we double the size of the medicaid population in america. hospitals don't have the ability to limit. they're under federal law that says when you show up, you've got to see them. what we're going to do is probably attempt to bankrupt the infrastructure that we've got for health care in this country, for the simple reason that rather than fix health care, we just came up with creative ways to pay for it. or in the case of ipab, the independent advisory panel, we figured out an external way from congress to cut the
reimbursements to doctors and to hospitals and to limit the coverage of all plans where it doesn't have to go through the legislative process in washington. we're not always the finest example of legislation becoming laws. but, you know, this is the mechanism our founding fathers set up to make sure bad things didn't happen. i've got to say this is one that slipped through. now we've got the responsibility to go back and fix the pieces of it that would be devastating to the future of health care in this country. i thank the senator from wyoming for letting me share some time. mr. enzi: i think you'd be interested too and really involved with some of the accounting sleight of hand that happened with prescription part-d. we put prescription part-d in so people would have a better chance of being able to pay for their prescriptions. a very difficult program. it was very expensive. i know in my state, we were looking at only two people that were selling pharmaceuticals to seniors.
and i thought when this program goes in, there probably won't be any. when it was opened up to wide choice, i found out there were 46 companies that wanted the business in wyoming. it turned out to be a very successful program at helping people out. now, in this affordable care act, of course, they do some things with the doughnut hole which are a little bit of sleight of hand because some of the companies that sell brand name prescription drugs agreed that they would reimburse people for a part or up to all of their medications while they went through that doughnut hole knowing that when they got out of the doughnut hole they would still stay with that brand name and cost the program a lot more. an area where we were saving money and could have fixed it so the seniors have a better chance at it but not giving an advantage to the brand name drug users would have actually saved some money in the program. but that didn't happen. i know since you are involved a lot in the pharmaceutical area
and have done a tremendous job at making sure that we're safe from terrorist attacks and pandemic flus and worked at vaccinations, probably the foremost person at both ends of the building at knowing thousand do that, maybe you'd have comments on this prescription part-d. mr. burr: i thank you for that acknowledgement. that's why the thought that innovation would leave the american health care system terrifies me. innovation is the answer to the threats both natural and intentional that could come to this country and everywhere in the world. and we never know what's around the corner. but our ability to innovate in this country has always kept us one step ahead. and i believe we're on the cusp of a new era of innovation that can only be thwarted if in fact this health care bill is fully implemented. because the incentive will now be gone for entrepreneurs to take risks. there's no longer going to be an
incentive that says take a risk, and there's an opportunity at a reward. and i think the senator from wyoming pointed out very well, we've created medicare part-d. what a novel approach to actually take a health care benefit that didn't exist in the 1960's when we created medicare, and match it up with the coverage of the rest of the delivery system. what was the result of creating a market-based coverage? today medicare part-d is 50% less than the estimate we made years ago when we created it, of what the annual premium cost was going to be. why? it's because we created private-sector competition. we didn't create government plans. it probably would have been much easier just to say, okay, we're going to supply a benefit for every senior in the country. i can assure you had we done that, we would have been well over what we projected the annual cost to be. but we're 50% under because we
have private-sector entrepreneur companies that are out there competing for the business, that are smart enough to look at the type of coverage and they're custom designing it to meet the needs of seniors in this country. i dare say that the current health care plan that's going to be implemented and fully executed by 2014 was not personalized for anybody in this country. it looks at a 17-year-old the same way as it does a 77-year-old. yet, the health challenges, the income are different for both ends of the spectrum. and that's because government can't look at us as individuals. they can't group us and design something that addresses not just the coverage needs, but the cost long term and the solvency. so, we only have one choice, and that's to fix the things that are broken. and it's amazing how there's
great agreement on those things that would be damaging long term and those things that are actually positive and move the ball in the right direction. mr. enzi: that prescription part-d actually drove down the cost of medication and now we're ending up in a situation where part of that will be in trouble because of what's happened to medicare with $500 billion being stolen. i see that we've been joined by the senator from utah, senator lee. utah has had a health care system there that's been a model for other states and now is possibly in jeopardy. i don't know if you'd care to comment on medicare or on that. we appreciate your comments. mr. lee: utah does indeed have a health care system that functions well. it functions well not withstanding the fact that it's not managed. it's not governed by the federal government. this is one of the great wonders of our federal system. you know, when we became a country about 200-plus years
ago, we did so against the backdrop that's informative for us still today. we became a country in part because we discovered through trial and error, through our experience as british colonies that local self-rule works best. people govern themselves much better than a large distant government can govern them. that's exactly why we became a country is because we learned that local self-rule works, and we learned also that there is great change to our individual liberty with any government, because whenever any government acts, whenever it does anything to regulate our lives, it does so at the expense of our individual liberty. we become less free by degrees whenever government does just about anything. but the risk to our liberty is especially great, it's at its highest when the government
acting is a large one, when it's a national government. national governments, as we learned in our experience with our national government before we became a country, our national government that was then based in london, national governments tend to tax us too much, they tend to regulate us too heavily, they tend to be inefficient, they tend to be slow to respond to our needs in part because they are operating so distantly from where many of the people reside. and so when we became a country, we left most of the powers at the state and the local level. we eventually came up with this document, this almost 225-year-old document that has fostered the development of the greatest civilization the world has ever known, and in that document, we came up with a list of powers that a national government must have in order to survive. and we kept that list fairly limited. we said the national government needs to have the power to provide for our national defense, to regulate commerce or
trade between the states and with foreign nations and with the indian tribes, to protect trademarks, copyrights and patents to establish a uniformed system of weights and measures, to come up with a system of bankruptcy laws, laws governing immigration and naturalization, and a few other powers, but, you know, that's basically it. there is no power in this document that gives our national government, that gives us, congress, as a national legislature the power to regulate anything and everything. there is nothing in this document that gives congress what jurists and political scientists refer to as general police powers. that is, just the power to come up with any law that congress might deem just and good and appropriate and advisable at any moment. and that, again, was because of the calculated assessment made by the founding generation that we needed a government possessing only limited,
enumerated powers, protecting individual liberty and to ensure that we in america could continue to live as free individuals. over time, we have drifted somewhat in our understanding of what those powers mean. over the last 75 years, the supreme court has been applying a really deferential standard toward congress in reviewing laws enacted under the commerce clause, clause 3 of article 1, section 8. the supreme court has since about 1937, at least since 1942, said that congress may regulate without interference from the courts under the commerce clause, activities that when measured in the aggregate, when replicated across every state could be said substantially to affect interstate commerce. that's more or less the guideline that the court has given us. they are not necessarily saying that anything and everything that fits within that is necessarily within the letter and the expired of the
constitution, but that at least insofar as the courts are concerned, insofar as the courts have been willing to step in and validate or invalidate, that will be what guides the courts in making that assessment. beyond that, the debate has to be hammered out within the halls of congress. now, the affordable care act, also known as obamacare, contains an individual health insurance mandate that takes congress' powers to a whole new level. for the first time in american history, our national legislature has required every american in every part of this country to purchase a particular product. not just any product, but health insurance. not just any health insurance, but that specific kind of health insurance that congress in its wisdom deemed appropriate and necessary for every american to buy. this is absolutely without precedent. it is also, i believe, not
defensible. even under the broad deferential standard that has been applied by the united states supreme court since the late 1930's and early 1940's. among other things, the limits that have been maintained by the supreme court, notwithstanding its deference to congress dunder the commerce clause, have been limbed by a few principles. first, the supreme court has continued to insist that although some intrastate activities will be regulated by congress under the commerce clause, some activities occurring entirely in one state, activities that historically would have been regarded as the exclusive domain of states, activities like labor, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, although some activities might be covered by congress, those activities at a minimum have to be activities that impose a substantial burden or obstruction on interstate commerce or on congress'
regulation of interstate commerce. the supreme court has also continued to insist that the activity in question that's being regulated needs to be activity, first of all, and not inactivity, but it also needs to involve economic activity in most circumstances, unless, of course, it is the kind of activity that while ostensibly noneconomic, by its very nature undercuts a larger comprehensive regulation of activity that is itself economic. finally, the supreme court has continued to insist time and time and time again that congress cannot in the name of regulating interstate commerce effectively obliterate the distinction between what is national and what is local. now, the afford care act through
its individual mandate effectively blows past each and every one of these restrictions, restrictions that even under the broad deferential approach that the supreme court has taken toward the regulation of commerce by congress over the last 75 years or so, even the supreme court, even under these broad standards isn't willing to go this far. there are very good reasons for that, and those reasons have to do with our individual liberty. they have to do with the fact that americans were always intended to live free, and they understood that they are more likely to be free when decisions of great importance need to be hammered out at the state and at the local level. that is, unless those decisions have been specifically delegated to congress. specifically designated as national responsibilities. this one is not. decisions about where you go to the doctor and how you're going
to pay for it are not decisions that are national in nature, according to the text and spirit and letter and history and understanding of the constitution. they are not and they cannot be. if in this instance we say well, this is just important so we need to allow congress to act, if we do that, we do so at our own peril. we stand to lose a great deal if all of a sudden we allow congress to regulate something that is not economic activity. in fact, it's not activity at all. it's inaction. it's a decision by an individual person whether to purchase anything, whether to purchase health insurance, or if so, what kind of health insurance to purchase. our very liberties are at stake, and that's why i find this concerning. the presiding officer: the senator's time is expired. mr. enzi: i would ask unanimous consent that we get another two
minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you, mr. chairman. i thought i had two more minutes. i appreciate the comments. this is the anniversary, the two years of passing what is the so-called affordable patient care act. the court, the supreme court has chosen next week to begin the deliberations on it. they are going to take three times as long as they do on any case so that they can divide this up into pieces, and that mandate piece will be the second one. one that they probably won't be going into is this medicare problem. we're going to have seniors that are going to be without care because we have taken $500 billion out of medicare when it needed a doc fix, a whole bunch of other things. particularly in rural areas, rural health clinics. can any reasonable person believe that you can cut a half a trillion dollars from a program and not -- and not affect its impact on patient care? i'd like to have more time. i would ask that all my remarks
be -- i have a prepared statement that be a part of the record to show there is this left, there is fraud involved, that there are bureaucrats and that there is accounting sleight of hand. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. enzi: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of h.r. 3606, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar numbered 334, h.r. 3606, an act to increase american job creation and economic growth by improving access to the public capital markets for emerging growth companies. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:30 p.m. will be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i would ask that i be yielded ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, in a few hours, after votes on two amendments that i hope we will
pass, we're going to vote on final passage of the house of representatives-passed bill, the so-called jobs bill. i'm going to vote against passage of this bill because it would remain far too deeply flawed even if the two amendments were passed to justify passage by the senate. i'm going to vote no on this bill because it will significantly weaken existing protections for investors against fraud and abuse. the supporters of this bill claim it will help to create jobs. they have even titled it the jobs act. but there is no evidence it will help create new jobs. there is not one study that its proponents have shown us how repealing provisions that protect us from conflicts of interest and the research coverage of companies that up to a billion dollars in revenue will create jobs, nor is there evidence that removing transparency and disclosure requirements for very large
companies will create jobs, nor is there evidence that allowing unregulated stock sales to those unable to assess or withstand high-risk investments will create jobs, nor is there much else in this bill that will even arguably help create jobs. it will, however, take the top off the beat relative to the activities of some huge banks and it will threaten damage to the honesty and integrity of our financial markets. now, that is a mistake in its own right. we should value honesty and integrity in markets as in all things, and legislation that creates new opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse should be amended or rejected. but the damage done by this bill to the integrity of our markets will also work against the purported goal of this bill. the encouragement of investment to create jobs. by making our financial markets less transparent, less honest and less accountable, this legislation threatens to
discourage investors from participating in capital markets. that damage would make it harder, not easier, for companies to attract the capital that they need and to hire new workers. our capital markets are the envy of the world, and that is in part because we recognize that efficient markets that help businesses raise capital and aim to match up investors and companies need transparency and they need financial integrity, but this bill would not allow companies to make -- will allow companies to make fewer disclosures and will remove important investor safeguards. they will increase this bill. many types of risks to investors including the risk of outright fraud. and i want to focus on a few of the many serious flaws in this bill. first, it harms investors by allowing a wide range of
companies to avoid basic requirements for disclosure and transparency. it does that by changing the threshold at which companies are considered large enough and their stock is widely enough held to trigger those disclosure requirements. today, companies are generally required to register with the s.e.c. and meet basic requirements for financial transparency and accountability if they have 500 or more shareholders. the bill before us would raise that exemption to 2,000 or even more shareholders. it would even raise the level at which banks can deregister from 300 to 1,200 or more shareholders, regardless of the bank's size in terms of assets. these changes will allow even very large companies with several thousand shareholders to
avoid telling regulators, shareholders and potential shareholders even the most basic information about their finances and to avoid important accounting standards. second, this bill harms investors by allowing companies to make largely unregulated private stock offerings to members of the public. today, such inherently risky, unregulated offerings cannot be advertised to the public and are generally limited to shareholders who are financially able to absorb the risks involved. but the house bill allows advertisement of these unregulated offerings to the general public. it will allow tv ads for get-rich-quick schemes with almost no oversight. advertisers could pitch these risky investments in cold calls to senior citizens centers. that's why groups such as aarp
are deeply concerned about what these changes will do to senior citizens who are often the targets of financial are fraud and abuse. third, this bill abandons a lesson that we learned all too painfully during the dot com crisis of the 19 90's. at that time, investment banks seeking to underwrite initial public offerings, which is a lucrative line of business, engaged in brazen conflicts of interest. they sought this business by promising companies about to go public that their research analysts, who investors depend on for honest, impartial advice, would give favorable coverage to their stocks in exchange for the underwriting business. in company after company, investors were misled about the strength of new stocks by investment banks engaging in this conflict of interest.
this abuse helped to feed a stock bubble that when it burst wiped out investors, evaporated companies, and it devastated the economy. the nasdaq index still to this day has not recovered from that bubble. as a result, regulators put up barriers designed to end these conflicts of interest, but the house bill before us knocks down those barriers. it is astonishing that we would forget these lessons and allow the return of such blatant conflicts of interest. fourth, this bill will allow very large companies, companies with up to $1 billion in annual revenue, to make initial public offerings without complying with basic disclosure and accountability standards. these companies would be able to avoid compliance with accounting and disclosure rules to help give investors accurate information on the company's
finances. they would not have to obey standard accounting rules or have auditors certify that they have adequate internal controls. many of these rules were adopted in response to high-profile accounting frauds such as enron and worldcom. some were recently enacted in the dodd-frank act in the wake of the financial crisis. and yet while our economy is still recovering from the damage of the most recent crisis that arose in large part as a result of deregulation, we are about to consider undoing safeguards that we created in that wake. the $1 billion limit of the house bill will allow nearly 90% of the i.p.o.'s to avoid even the most basic disclosure standards. with these provisions, we will veangsly ask america -- essentially ask america's investors to place their capital at risk almost blindly with
little if any reliable information about the companies seeking their investment. it defies common sense to argue that investors will be more likely to put their money at risk and therefore help to create jobs in that kind of environment. mr. president, this is a bad bill. and because debate was closed off and amendments severely limited, we will not be able to fix nearly enough of it. but we will hopefully remedy a few of its flaws in amendments we're going to be voting on. change to the crowdfund provision is welcome and i commend senators merkley and been bennet and others who crafted that provision and which senators reed and landrieu and i incorporated in our substitute bill which was defeated yesterday. this will give investors somewhat greater confidence in a new and potentially useful method of assembling capital. i support senator reed's
amendment to close a loophole in securities laws, one that the house bill fails to address. with this amendment, it will be harder to evade registration and disclosure requirements by using shareholders of record who exist only on paper but who hold shares for large numbers of actual beneficial owners. this is part of our substitute and its inclusion in the bill would represent an improvement. but, mr. president, we should not fool ourselves. these improvements if adopted, though welcome, are far from sufficient. we are about to embark upon the most sweeping deregulatory effort and assault on investor protection in decades. the council of institutional investors warn us that -- quote -- "this legislation will likely create more risks to investors than jobs." if we pass this bill, it will allow new opportunities for fraud and abuse in capital
markets. rather than growing our economy, we are courting the next accounting scandal, the next stock bubble, the next financial crisis. if this bill passes, we will look back at our votes today with deep regret. we should not adopt this bill today. we should return it to committee, we should have hearings, we should have opportunities to amend this bill. adopting this bill will put us in a position of the most massive and mistaken deregulation of our capital markets in decades. mr. president, i yield the floor and before i do that, however, i have 13 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders and i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered.
mr. levin: i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senior senator from iowa is recognized. mr. grassley: mr. president, soon around the 12:30 hour or one of the seven votes this afternoon, we're going to be voting on cloture on the stock act. and i have 45 minutes allotted to me to tell you -- for me to speak about the disappointment i have with the way this has been handled and why i think the parliament procedure is wrong and why the whole process irritates me. bipartisanship happens to be alive and well here in washington, d.c., where most of our constituents feel it's never working. earlier this week, we had the
republican majority leader of the house and the democrat majority leader of the senate -- and that's bipartisanship -- work together to thwart the will of 60 senators and 286 members of congress. the end result is, as well meaning as the people behind this maneuver might be, the end result is that 60 members of the senate are going to be denied an opportunity to pursue what they had previously voted for, and 286 members of the house of representatives cosponsoring the language of my amendment are not going to have a chance to do what 286 members of the house wants to do. and as i said, this is bipartisanship, but it's not the kind of bipartisanship,
cooperation, intended or not, that this nation deserves. i won't ascribe motives to anyone this body, but i know that today's actions only deserve the desires of obscure and powerful wall street interests, and it undercuts the will of the overwhelming majority of congress that i just described. and it's once again an example of wall street being heard in washington and maybe the common person throughout the united states not having its will expressed. this process took a commonsense provision supported by a majority of both houses of congress, and they simply erased it. in other words, you got to remember, here, when you have
a 60-vote requirement in the united states senate, you know what that 60-vote requirement is really meant to do. that no amendment under a 60-vote requirement is ever going to be adopted. and that was surely the motive behind the 60-vote requirement for the amendment that i got adopted when this bill was first up. because the democrat leader voted against it, the republican leader voted against it, the democrat manager spoke against it, and the republican manager was against it. now, common sense tells you if you study the united states senate, that an amendment like that is never supposed to get adopted. but we got the 60 votes to get it adopted. quite frankly, i was surprised that we got the 60 votes to get adopted. and so that is taken out of the bill that we're going to be voting on this afternoon. my amendment simply says that if
you seek information from congress or the executive branch to trade stocks, congress, executive branch, and the american people ought to know who you are. nobody's saying you can't do it. but you ought to know who they are. and you do that through the process that everybody ought to know who lobbyists are. not that lobbying is illegal or wrong, but it ought to be transparent and with transparent comes accountability, the same way. this amendment asks these people that are involved in seeking information to just register so we know who they are. nothing in the amendment -- the amendment makes nothing illegal, but we ought to know who these people that seek political and economic espionage, we ought to bring all of that out of the shadow
into the public's information. but the leadership of both parties, the majority in the house and the majority in the senate, went behind closed doors and made that provision just magically disappear. what did they -- what they did was truly amazing because a handful of senators and congressmen overrides the will of 60 senators and 280-plus backers of my amendment in the other body. first the majority leader in the house said that the definition of political intelligence was so vague that he couldn't possibly figure out how to define it. that's the excuse given for stripping any regulation of political intelligence or my
words, or political and economic espionage from the stock act, when it was taken up in the house of representatives. now, let me tell you why that excuse is truly amazing to me, and quite a surprise. because the house of representatives put in a diluted provision that uses a very -- the very same definition i had in my bill of what bill is political intelligence gathering is. then by taking out my language, putting in theirs, they got it done because it was an excuse that the language i had in my amendment was so vague. but you know what? they took that very same language and put it in their amendment, calling for a study of political and economic
espionage and political intelligence and used it. so let me go back to section 7, part b, and quote -- starting to quote, definition, for the purposes of this section, the term political intelligence shall mean information that is derived by a person from direct communications with an executive branch employee, a member of congress, or an employee of congress and provided in exchange for financial compensation to a client who intends and who is known to intend to use this information to inform investment decisions. end of quote. now, that's the definition that they thought we really don't know what political intelligence is so we shouldn't be passing this amendment even though 280 members of the house of representatives has sponsored a bill to do it for the last six
years. and take that very same definition that they say is so vague and put it in a bill for the purposes of studying something. so that seems pretty straightforward, doesn't it? that definition seems pretty straightforward. of course that definition will now only be applied to a study, not to legislation with real teeth, because the powerful interests of wall street are winning out. now, if you think that's bad, this is what happened to the stock act in the senate. by now, i think just about everybody in this body knows how strongly i feel about this amendment that was adopted by this body 60-40 under a rule requiring 60 votes because that kills any amendment. but it didn't kill this one because we were right. i have spoken many times about
the dangers of unregulated political and economic espionage. i have reached out to the leadership to express my concern and written a letter with senator leahy, the chairman of the -- of the judiciary committee, on the importance of our stock act provisions. i said that i was willing, if necessary, to negotiate on the language of my amendment and that would be on the question of what is political intelligence. but it seemed to me you don't need to negotiate that if the house passed -- or if we pass something with that definition in it and the house already had 286 cosponsors with that definition in it, and if that take that same definition and put it in its -- in the amendment in the other body for a study, not an amendment with teeth.
so when i said i was willing to negotiate, what was the response? nothing. i wasn't even given the courtesy of being notified before cloture was filed. so it's kind of like an ambush, plain and simple. just like those people who traffic in political and economic espionage, this process has been cloaked in a great deal of secrecy. now the claim is made that the senate was forced to take up the house bill because an unnamed republican was threatening to object to a conference. however, no republican or any senator, for that matter, has publicly owned up to trying to stop this bill from going to conference. but even if we accept this fact, there are still more questions. supposedly we're taking up the house bill because the senate does not have time to take two or more cloture votes. throughout this congress, we have spent weeks in nothing but
quorum calls, but suddenly we've run out of time. of course, in less than ten days, we'll be leaving washington, d.c. for a two-week recess. i intend to go home and have town meetings. but we're not going to be doing business here in washington, d.c. so i have an idea for people to consider. with congressional approval ratings in the near single digits, why can't we spend part of that time getting the stock act right? and by getting it right, i have nothing wrong with the basic underlying piece of legislation, but when you have a chance to bring transparency and accountability through the registering of people in are involved in political and economic espionage, i think we ought to do it. and that's what i mean by getting the stock act right. "the washington post" said that my amendment, combined with senator leahy's political corruption amendment, was -- quote -- "transforming the stock
act into the most sweeping ethics legislation congress had considered since 2007. now, maybe you don't agree with the "washington post" all the time -- and i don't agree with them all the time -- but you've got them looking at things on a wider scale and they're saying that a congress that doesn't have a very good approval rating has a chance for the first time in five years to do sweeping ethics legislation that we need to improve the public's reputation -- or the congress' reputation by the public. so isn't this worth taking just a couple extra votes to get it done right and to make congress look better? i think so. but apparently a small handful
of people in the house and the senate that make the decisions of how we're going to do business around here, not taking into consideration the votes of 60 senators supporting this, have other ideas. well, at the end of the day, here's what will happen if we don't proceed. there are about 2,000 people working in the completely unregulated world of political intelligence or political and economic espionage. right now these people have to be celebrating because they're in the shadows. they want to stay in the shadows. they are celebrating because they know that it's business as usual, they can continue to pass along tips that they get from members of congress, senators and staff and no one will be the wiser. they pass along these tips to hedge funds, private equity firms and other investors who
pay them top dollar. the lobbyists get rich, wall street traders get rich, but the american people lose. at one time, these folks that set up these meetings for members of congress or -- or even in the executive branch -- and i have examples to show th that -- they used to call -- they used to charge $10,000 for just setting up a meeting. now, they don't set up -- they don't charge $10,000 any more because that information got out and was too embarrassing to them. so now there's kind of a -- of a relationship built up here between the people that know the way around congress and people that want this information that if there's investment in stock as a result of this and there's an increase in the value of stock, that you'll do your trading through the company. that's the tragic result of this
decision by the leadership to leave out the amendment that was adopted by 60 members of this congress and -- and would do nothing more -- not make anything illegal, just lets us know who these people are. through my oversight investigations, i've learned that political intelligence gathering for wall street is a growing field ripe for abuse. here are just two examples of the type of activity that will continue to be kept in the dark. in the course of my investigations of a whistle-blower's claim, i learned that the center for medicare and medicaid services has closed-door meetings with wall street firms where c.m.s. policies are discussed. no record is kept of the meetings and employees are essentially on the honor system to make sure that they are not giving investors inside information. as an example, the
whistle-blower who came to us claimed that over a dozen c.m.s. employees spent nearly two hours briefing wall street analysts and investigators on the taxpayers' dime. a member of the public could not walk in and get that kind of access to that information. c.m.s. is supposed to be working for us. instead, we found out that they're working for wall street f. my amendment fails -- for wall street. if my amendment fails, we don't know how many of these meetings occur throughout the government and who profits from these meetings. another example was an investigation that i conducted into president obama's administration's department of education. the department of education was getting set up to issue regulations on gainful employment that would affect not-for-profit colleges. several hedge funds had bet big that those new regulations would make it harder for for-profit colleagues to do business. then news began to leak out that
those regulators were not going to be as tough as was expected. suddenly, for-profit stocks began to rise and these hedge fund investigators -- investors reached out to their friends in the department of education. this is from an actual e-mail that my investigators uncovered. it was sent from steven eisman, a hedge fund investor, to david burgeron. he was part of a team in charge of rightinof writing these regu. quote from the e-mail -- "i know you cannot respond, but for your information, education stocks are running because people are hearing d.o.e. is backing down on gainful employment." to translate that on wall street jargon, the term "running" means that a stock is going up. within minutes, this e-mail was marked "high importance" and forwarded to senior-level political appointees.
these appointees includes james caval, the deputy under secretary, and another policy expert at the department, and phil martin, the secretary's confidential assistant. to this day, we do not know why the department's higher education policy experts needed to know that a hedge fund investor was losing money. what we do know is that for-profit stock dropped significantly and if you bet big that these stocks would drop, you likely made a lot of money. when the department of education answered my questions, they admitted to my staff that this e-mail was not a proper contact. in addition, the department of education's inspector general is investigating the gainful employment rule-making process. these are just two examples in two government agencies, but reports like these -- this are just the tip of an iceberg. the more power washington, d.c.,
has, the more it affects financial markets. and the more it affects financial markets, the more people on wall street to want pay for information about what it's going -- what is going to happen here in this island surrounded by reality that we call washington, d.c. usually the only way that any sort of ethics reform gets done around here is that someone gets caught. with political intelligence, we have the opportunity to create transparency before the next scandal occurs. as government grows, this industry is going to grow along with the potential for corruption. the question is: what are we going to do about it? transparency is the simplest and least intrusive solution. and if transparency doesn't do the job, then you can legislate. but i have found out in so many of my investigations over the last 20 years that if you bring
transparency to something, get it out in the open, it tends to correct itself. maybe not completely but to a great deal. and originally, starting out investigations you think you're going to have to have a massive amount of legislation. but when you get transparency involved and the accountability that goes with it, you find out that you don't have to pass a lot of laws, that a lot of people know if somebody's looking over their shoulder, that they're going to do what's right. now, we can commission another study, like the house of representatives wants to do and we're going to be voting on when we vote on cloture here, but that's kicking the can down the road for another year. but we can act today by defeating cloture and getting to some of these amendments that have such widespread support in the congress of the united states. 60 votes in the united states senate and 286 cosponsors in the house of representatives. this is our last chance to make sure that the senate speaks with a unified voice against secrecy
for political intelligence agencies or the political and economic espionage people and speaking out for transparency in government. we must not allow the special interests to operate in the da dark. just bring them out of the shadows. not what they're doing is illegal, but we ought to know what it is. for these reasons and to support transparency, to support open government, and to support good government, i will oppose cloture on the bill and i hope that a lot of my colleagues -- in fact, i hope all 60 of the colleagues that voted for the amendment in the first place would oppose cloture. if cloture is invoked, which is likely, i intend to vote for this bill anyway because the underlying bill is a very necessary piece of legislation. but it is not much of a victory for the american people, as "the washington post" said, that i
if -- if it included the leahy amendment, if it included the grassley amendment, it would be the most sweeping ethics reform in the last five years. i yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. mr. grassley: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call:
mr. reed: mr. president, i would ask to dispense with the calling of the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, this is a critical moment. the senate is on the verge of adopting legislation that could cost the american people dearly in the future. the house bill with respect to capital formation, which is labeled a jobs bill but goes more to fundamentally chapping o fundamentally change the securities laws, is a regulatory race to the bottom. there has not been a normal committee process in terms of weighing this legislation. these are complicated details. the interaction of the securities laws and many different securities laws have not been sorted out, analyzed.
as a result, we are rushing to justice -- or rushing to conclusion. hasty deregulation has repeatedly been the source of financial crisis, the enron crisis, the great recession of 2008 and the list goes on. and those who lost their savings or dealt with cleaning them up, experts in this field and many more have come out in strong opposition to the house proposal. from the chairman of the securities and exchange commission, mary sha mary schapo the north american security administrative commission, those charged with enforcing state securities laws, auditors, analysts, pension fund managers, the aarp are among those who have spoken out against this legislation and supported my efforts to protect investors. this capital formation bill is
fundamentally flawed and should not become law in its present form. it undercuts and did i lieutenants investor -- it undercuts and dilutes investors protections. we have a jobs bill but i see nothing in this bill that requires creating american jobs to earn the benefits of this bill. and it is, i think, again, misnomered as a jobs bill. i offered with senators landrieu and levin and others an amendment that we will be voting on later today to clarify the shareholder trigger for exchange act reporting so that all companies count their actual shareholders so they cannot avoid periodic reporting requirements. adoption of this amendment would achieve one of the stated goals of the legislation, which is ostensibly to have more
companies in a transparent market disclosing and listing on stock exchanges. that was the whole reason for this i.p.o. onramp, encourage people to go public so that the market could follow them and investor advisors to advise on purchasing stocks in the market. this is one glaring loophole with respect to my proposed amendment. but frankly too many others remain and i have grave concerns about the impact this underlying bill will have on the middle class. it's needed because initial public offerings are down since the 1990's. they blame regulation, ignoring evidence that the dot-com bubble bursting, which shook the confidence of many in these new i.p.o.'s that are coming on the market quickly with huge multiples in their prices as they come on the market and then quuklquickly disappearing and lg
the scene altogether. and of course the biggest financial collapse since the great depression beginning in 2008 and lingering with us today has shaken the confidence and frankly shaken the basis calculation of many small businesses who are looking to expand when they see the demand out there for their products. if the demand is there, they will even in this environment go forward with initial public offerings. and they also repeatedly blame the lack of i.p.o. on accounting costs and all the other routines that were brought upon by sarbanes-oxley. they ignore that the largest source is not the sarbanes-oxley 404 audit costs, they're the investorss' fees. there is nothing in this legislation that will affect those. in the case of groupon, investor
bankers were paid 20 times when the auditors were paid. if you ask whether they'd rather have a solid auditing practice going forward to ensure that the investing dollars are wisely used, i'd say they prefer that than paying large fees to investor bankers. in the case of lincoln, the underwriters were paid 18 times what the auditors were. the notion that the sarbanes-oxley auditing costs and accounting procedures are really what's stopping a business person from deciding to go ahead ignores the fact that compared to the investment banker fees, which they'll still have to pay, these costs are somewhat insignificant in comparison. theoretically, this bill is supposed to promote the flow of capital from emerging businesses but in practice it would likely
promote and continue to promote fees paid to investor bankers and others to bring these companies public. there's nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing had this underlying legislation that's going to require discounts because of the reductions in accounting costs. there's nothing in this legislation that will change that dynamic. it could, however, this legislation give insiders more ways to manipulate the market while average investors are left out in the cold. there is a difference between cutting red tape and allowing insiders to cut corners. undoing the commonsense safeguards who protected people who played by the rules. the house bill lawyers standards for protecting the public from investor fraud. this so-called i.p.o. onlamp desperately needs an -- this so-called i.p.o. onramp des preyedly needs an off ramp.
this bill would allow very large companies with up to $1 pl in revenue per year to avoid financial transparency and auditing disclosures designed to ensure that they are not manipulating their books. while enjoying lighter regulation for up to five years after the i.p.o. if this unbalanced bill becomes law without these needed improvements it could weaken oversight of wall street, oversight that in the past has provided investors protections that are extremely important. again, there is merit to the idea of giving small start-up companies more financing options, but the devil is in the details. and the way this bill was written, it would have the opposite effect and make it harder to raise capital. it opens up the spigot to general solicitation and mass marketing of what traditionally
have been private securities offerings, and we can fully pect to have senio -- and we can fulo have senior citizens and others through nightly cable advertisements, through billboards, cold-called by brokers or other individuals telling them about the special opportunities for investing their cash, and many could fall for some of these. retail investors can be solicited now through a practice, make your investment now and get rich. again, there is potential for expanding the use of regulation "a" -- it is on the books now with the securities and exchange commission -- but not without safeguards. as the bill is currently drafted, these solicitations can be made without audit or financial statements. and i think, as a point of departure, if you're trying to sell a security, you should at least have audits of the company
you are soliciting on behalf of. now, the crowdfunding amendment, i hope, will be improved dramatically by the work of senator merkley and bennet and senator brown. we'll be voting on that later today, too. it is a substantial improvement. but they admit this is an experiment that could be improved even further. but i salute them for what they have done and i hope our colleagues accept the amendment and move forward. we have over the last few days spent a great deal of time talking about the shortcomings in this legislation, and with the exception of the proposals before us, many of these shortcomings still exist and i think will lead potentially to difficult and harm -- difficulties and harm to investors. people understand investing is risky. you try to make an informed choice and, you know, you win some and you lose some.
but most americans would agree that u.s. financial markets work best when investors have access to timely, comprehensive, and accurate public information that allows people to make solid investment decisions. in fact, one of the principles of the commemorative market if you take economics 1001 is perfect information. that's the assumption, perfect information. well, there's never perfect information but there has to be adequate information. otherwise it's not a market, it's a casino. this legislation undermines some of the decades-long protections that we have in place to provide at least adequate information to investors. by stripping away auditing standards and giving the investing public less information in almost every setting, sphis tate kateed players and investment banks will have all the -- sophisticated players and investment banks will have all the advantages. the average investor will be operating in much more
challenged circumstances. middle-class americans will be particularly affected. as "usa today" noted banks that manage i.p.o.'s will be able to use inside access to past financial results to come nature research on new companies with incentives to promote their firms' banking clients. the american people want big banks and large companies to play fair and comply with the basic rules and responsibilities that go with being a public company. that's not too much to ask. i believe that history will judge this misnamed bill quite harshly. instead of rushing to pass this bill, we should be working together to protect the interests and economic well-being of the american public. we should be focused on creating jobs and helping work force. -- working families. this bill does not in my estimate do that. indeed, ironically it could harm our constituents by shattering their faith and it's been tested quite recently by
the financial crisis and other crises, in the market, rather than reinforcing their confidence that they will be protected while they participate in the market. i believe we're capable of writing better legislation without sacrificing important investor protections. and i hope that we can go forward. i'm disappointed that the substitute amendment, authored by myself and senators landrieu and levin was not accepted. as such, by urge when we get to final passage that people think very seriously about the consequences of the bill. despite the efforts of senator merkley and senator bennet and others, senator brown of massachusetts, despite my efforts, i'm afraid that the final version of this legislation will not protect investors as it should, and therefore should be rejected. with that mr. chairman i would yield the floor.
mr. reed: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that any time remaining in the quorum call be equally divided between my republican colleagues and my democratic ones. the presiding officer: is there objection? so ordered.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to yield myself five minutes to discuss the jobs act. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. toomey: mr. president, i think we are on the verge of doing something very, very constructive in this body, something very, very constructive for our economy, for the american people, for economic growth, and for job creation, and after a congress that has thus far been a little frustrating for the lack of progress we've made on this front, today is a very, very big day. we've got a chance to pass a bill that has passed the house overwhelmingly with a huge bipartisan majority, a bill that the president of the united states has said he will sign into law. we've got a chance to pass this, to have it signed into
law and to thereby enable small and growing businesses across america to have greater access to the capital they need to grow, to hire new workers, who help ex 357bd -- expand this economy and to really make some progress at a time we need it badly. the bill that i'm talking about, of course, is the jobs act. it has passed the house 390-23. overwhelming majority. and it consists of a series of component measures which i'll talk about a little bit in some detail, each of which has either passed the full house lms unanimousy li or at least committee by overwhelming majority. there is broad bipartisan support. it is important, however, to get to this point we need to defeat the amendment offered by my friend and colleague whom i respect a great deal, the senator from rhode island, who is offering an amendment that would have devastating unintended consequences. an amendment that doesn't merely
weaken the progress that we're going to make with this bill but would actually take us backwards from where we are today. the way in which it would do that -- and i doubt that this is the intent but i am sure this is the consequence of this amendment if it were enacted -- this amendment would cause companies that are organized as private companies for good and sufficient reason, for many years they choose to be private companies because it's what's best for their business, their employees, and their customers. it would force many of them to become public companies against their will. because a change in the rules, in the regulations by which we count the number of shareholders as the amendment from the gentleman from rhode island, the change that it would cause would trigger this change in the status of these companies, having enormously detrimental impact on many, many companies making -- raising their cost of compliance dramatically, making
them less profitable. i'm very concerned, for instance, among the many ways this exoo happen, one could be through esops, the employee sthok ownership plans. i know the senator from rhode island believes this would not trigger this, i think it's likely that they would. not only would it force private companies to go public against their will but it would discourage the creation of employee own ownership in companies and i think the last thing we want to do is discourage a creaf, creative way of compensating amendments. if we deetd the reed amendment we'll have an amendment dealing with crowdfunding, i don't know whether that passes or not but either way we'll be able to expand the opportunity of small companies to raise companies through crowdfunding mechanisms and then we'll have final message vote on what i think might be the most pro-growth measure that this body will consider, perhaps this whole year. let me walk through a couple of
specific -- this is a chart that just shows a sampling of the organizations and institutions that support this bill. it's a wide range of businesses and business associations, folks that are in the business of launching new companies, of growing small companies. it's a long list. this is an incomplete subset of that list. and i think this is an important point that i want to make. and that is that there is a very, very vast range of investor protections that are completely unaddressed, completely unaffected by this legislation. the legislation is actually modest in the regulations that it changes and the categories that it leaves in place to protect investors who are choosing to invest in companies, be they public or private, are quite extensive, a range of antifraud provisions that remain in force, a range of s.e.c. reporting obligations that remain entirely still in full force.
governance rules that are unaffected by any of this legislation. proxy statements, reporting obligations. we have a very extensive body of law and regulation that very precisely controls all kinds of reporting and disclosure requirements designed to protect investors. it all stays in place. investors will remain very well protected if this legislation is enacted. i want to touch on the three things that i think i'm most excited about, and i'll acknowledge my biby as. these are three -- my bias. these are three that i introduced with democratic cosponsors in the senate each of which has been rolled up into this package including in addition to the crowdfunding piece that i alluded to earlier and a bill introduced by senator thune and others that is also part of this package. one of the pieces in this jobs package that's very constructive is a bill that i introduced with senator tester. this is a bill that takes the existing regulation a and in the
securities law, the body of law, regulation a allows companies to issue a security in a streamlined regulatory fashion. it streamlines the process, reduces costs somewhat and the problem is the current limit is only $5 million making it not very practical for the vast majority of companies. our bill would take that limit to $50 million and make this an option to raise capital and grow a business that would be available to far more companies. the second piece that i introduced with senator carper and for which i'm very grateful to senator carper for his work is to lift the permissible number of shareholders that a small, privately held business can have without triggering the full very expensive and onerous s.e.c. compliance regime. our bill would take that from a current level of 500 up to 2,000, and there are many, many companies throughout pennsylvania, across the country that are successful, they're thriving, they're growing but they've got a number of shareholders that's bumping
up against that limit. they're close to 500, they need to raise capital, they don't want to go public and they've got plenty of people who would like to invest in their business so that they can grow but they can't do it because they're so close to the threshold. we would live the threshold to 2,000 so they can raids money in the private markets. finally what is in some ways the centerpiece of this legislation in my mind, a bill i sliewfd with senator schumer and i thank him for his work on this. this is a bill that facilitates going public. when a company reaches that point in its growth, we are -- in order to grow further, to hire more workers, in order to expand it needs to become a publicly traded company, we make it more affordable for more companies to do that so they can do it sooner, they can grow sooner, they can hire the additional workers sooner. we do it with what we call an onramp. a process by which a company if it has less than a billion dollars in sales, less than
$750 million in market float, such a company would be able to do a public offering without being subject to all of the most expensive parts of the s.e.c. regulatory regime. they would be required to comply with a big majority of all of the existing reporting requirements, but there would be some pieces, especially section 404-b of the sarbanes-oxley act which is extremely complex and expensive to comply with, they wouldn't have to couple fully comply with that for five years or until they reached a billion dollars in sales or $750 million in market float, whichever came first. so what we're really doing with this part of the jobs act is we're giving small and growing companies an opportunity to grow into the ability to afford the most expensive regulation to which they would be applied. nobody's exempted permanently, everybody who goes public would be subject to the